Grand auction of Algarve properties announced by Chinese website “almost certainly bogus”

A Chinese website is purporting to be putting 1,500 luxury properties in Vale do Lobo up for auction, for prices between €900,000 and €1.5 million.

Both Vale do Lobo management and the national association of real estate agents have reacted with surprise, suggesting that not only is the news hard to imagine but that it is also “abusive”.

“We are talking about a huge amount of properties”, Luís Lima of the association of Portuguese estate agents told SIC notícias last night.

“There are areas like Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura where it would be difficult to find even 10% of this number of homes for sale”.

Saying he hoped there would be transparency in the auction – news of which was published verbatim by almost all the country’s news services – Lima also warned that it was important that any properties that were sold would go for the correct market values.

Vale de Lobo’s reaction was more categoric. SIC reports that the resort said it “did not have any house for sale under these conditions and considered the website’s use of images abusive”.

The website in question is Paimai, an offshoot of China’s largest business e-portal Taobao.

According to China’s newspaper China Daily, Paimai has purportedly auctioned properties to wealthy Chinese from more than 10 countries, including “islands in Fiji, castles in Italy and chateaux in France”.

The newspaper claimed that “the e-auction of Portuguese properties marks Paimai’s latest development in globalization”.

Paimai’s general manager Lu Weixing was quoted as saying that “with rapid development of China’s online auction market”, his site is keen to bring “high-quality overseas products to Chinese consumers”.

“Overseas realty is a sector that will catch the fancy of online bidders,” he told China Daily.

But following SIC’s report it is difficult to see now whether the entire story may have been manufactured. A quick internet search will reveal the existence of a Taobao business portal – but the Paimai website appears to relate to an auction house in Singapore which does not have any property auctions upcoming.

Perhaps a clue lies in one of the next things Lu Weixing is quoted as saying to China Daily:

“However, he said it is still too early to know whether the Portuguese properties will be well accepted by Chinese buyers due to their diversified tastes.”

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